Narcolepsy and the Quad

A couple strengthening each other's weaknesses through God's love and life's lessons.

Why nurses ONLY work 3 days a week

It’s been two years since my last post which has been a good thing in my mind. The past two years have been tame and boring hence the reason I haven’t posted. It’s only the stressful, I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out, give-me-a-hard-liquor-drink day that motivates me to write a post to release the monster inside of me. I’ve been mostly working 1-2 days a week while in graduate school. However, while out for summer break I’ve been picking up full time hours, just 3 days a week. My husband and I got into an argument about this, of which I won’t go into detail, but has inspired this post. Why do most nurses work only 3 days a week?

If you have ever thought nurses have it easy working three days a week, then you have never been a nurse. Imagine taking care of several human beings who at any minute could stop breathing, heart stop beating, throw a clot, have a stroke or pulmonary embolism. You are responsible for that life while piling on the many other duties that are put on nurses. You work 12.5 hours that can stretch to 13, 14, 15 hours depending on how crappy of a day it is and how behind your charting is. You pull and tug on 300+lbs patients every two hours to prevent pressure sores. At any point in the day you could be cleaning up urine, vomit, sputum, blood, stool and any and every combination of bodily fluids. You have patients and family who are angry because you don’t answer the call light every 10 minutes. They call your manager or administration because of your lack of promptness while you are caring for your most critical patient who you just intubated because they stopped breathing.  Your hospital administration has you take on extra patients so they are not sitting in the ER. And by the end of the day guilt has set in that you couldn’t take care of everyone the way you should because you have too many patients and not enough nurses. 

Some nurses can work overtime and some can even work seven days straight. But the majority of us end up severely burnt out. We work weekends, nights, holidays. We leave our families to take care of other families. I cry when family truly thank me for what I do because I rarely hear it and rarely feel like I am making a difference. Most days I feel like I’m just a body with a license for documentation. I’ve been hit at, kicked at, cursed at, yelled at, and even spit at. I worry about these confused patients falling out of bed. Not only because it would end up in a butt load of paperwork but because I care about them. I worry about critical patients. Then I come home and worry and pray for them. I’ve held the hand of dying patients, watched people take their last breath, and cried and grieved with families. I’ve had a dirty needle stick with worries of getting hep C or HIV. Some days I don’t get to eat or pee. And everyone is afraid to sign up to help and be that extra nurse that we desperately need because they pull those nurses to another floor. 

Love your nurses. Hug them and thank them for what they do. If you are married to one, hold them when they get home (after they wash the germs off).  Let them rest their bodies and process their emotions on days off. And have dinner waiting for them when they get home. 🙂

-the narcoleptic wife


Categories: Narcolepsy, nurses, paralyzed, Quadriplegic, Rn

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172 replies

  1. My wife and I have had this same argument on many occasions. Nursing is one of the most stressful jobs. I work in a level 1 trauma Emergancy Center. First, I want to thank you and all the others for taking that extra patient from the EC. At our organization it is not uncommon for us to be holding 20 patients in the EC while having 6 hour waits in triage. Every open bed counts, that’s hall beds included. Although, we, emergency nurses, are capable of giving the same care as those on the inpatient side our brains aren’t wired that way. It is challenging to switch between emergency nursing and inpatient nursing from one room to the next. Then, we as nurses feel guilty that we aren’t giving the patients the care they expect. The patients get upset, feeling as if nothing has been done because, “we’re still just sitting here in the ER.” Again, I thank you all. Secondly, I’m glad to see that my wife and I aren’t the only couple who have this conversation. Unless you are working beside me on the floor I have a difficult time conveying the emotional and physical roller coaster we go through during our 13 hour shift (it’s never 12). When I try to decompress or stick up for the “it’s only 3 days a week” comment I feel like I’m complaining. Im not one to complain or make excuses, so the conversation usually ends with, “if you were working next to me today you would understand why we only work 3 days a week.” We do what many can not, and see what many should not. We try not to take these things home, because the outside world is depressing enough. We have the opportunity to turn a person or families worse day into a day of reconciliation or reunion. At the very least we can be that person who catches you when you are given the news you’ve always dreaded to hear. Being a nurse can suck. You carry a heavy weight and at time you feel like the only person you can vent to is that person in the mirror (oh HIPAA). So when I get home and take 45 minutes in the bathroom it’s not because I’m constipated . It’s because it’s quiet, I won’t be bothered and the 8 minute drive home wasn’t enough time to decompress. With that, I’d rather do nothing else. I work with an extraordinary team who do extraordinary things. I am thankful for them and all of you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Enjoy your 4 days off 🙂

    • I can only imagine the things you see in a level 1 trauma ER! I know you ER nurses get easily burnt out and work in such a stressful area. I’m not sure what the answer is to keeping patients from waiting down in ER. It’s really hard working in a critical care unit and having administration come tell you to take a 4th patient. You never know when you will have an emergency with your other patients and then all your other patients get ignored.

  2. Hi! I’m an editor at the Huffington Post. What a powerful piece! Would you be interested in re-posting this piece on our site? I think our readers would really connect to it (especially the nurse community). Feel free to reach out hayley [dot] miller [at] huffingtonpost [dot] com. Hope to hear from you!

  3. Thank You for this! I often hear this from others that “I only work three days a week”. I wish more could understand what “just those three days” consist of!

    Some days I just need a long drive and an ear to listen! We have one of the most rewarding and stressful jobs out there. I truly do get a little tearful with an overwhelming sense of relief when being thanked!

  4. Yep I am one of those “only three days a weekers “. Been doing that mostly in critical care for as long as twelve hour shifts have been the way. Prior to that I did 8 hour shifts, FIVE days a week, every other weekend and every other holiday . I was off Sunday and Thursday one week and Tuesday and Saturday the next. For nearly 20 years. Yep… Worked EVERY Monday and Friday. No three day weekends no 7 day stretches off. And yes 8 hours turned into 9 or 10 many days! So the transition into 12 hour shifts was difficult because we were already burned out. Do I enjoy working only three days a week….NO! Do I enjoy my off time? SURE. I call it recovery . All this puts me into the same boat as those of us who had natural childbirth….the real natural without epidurals! I am speaking for the nurses that are older and remember washing out stainless steel bed pans, using powder on them; milk of mag and heat lamps on bed sores; hospital cornor son the BOTTOM sheets; when only surgeons wore gloves; vents in SIMV mode only. When nurses and doctors were respected by the patients, when nurses wore all white and caps and no pants…only uniform dresses with polished shoes. I guess I am getting old. But we still held patients hands and worried about every aspect of their care and gave all of ourselves to all of our patients at the expense of our families .
    So when you see me walking a little slower on hour 11, think of all the steps those feet have taken and all the hands I have held during the last breath and all the co workers I have trained ! my heart is overwhelmed!

    • I believe you and I are from the same era. Most of my working years were in L&D. But I do remember the days where we gave enemas without gloves and turned around and cleaned up after the effects the same way. From hanging glass IV alcohol drips to sharpening needles to be sterilized and reused. Working all aspects of nursing I believe has made us better people. I can’t begin to count the births with happiness to the births with nothing but sadness. ER was the same way, never knowing what was coming through the doors or how many would leave alive. It’s extremely rewarding and draining all in one. The younger ones now starting out will never know about pm care. Back rubs for every patient assigned to you, one nurse and an aide to run a floor of 35 people. No IV pumps, just a single pole hanging each patients IV. Having to count drops to regulate amounts per hour and doing your best to catch them before going dry. We didn’t have time to get burnt out for running yourself ragged. I wouldn’t trade my years for anything though. The people I’ve met, the lives I’ve touched or lost, have made me the person I am today. Finding an outlet to vent after your shift, will help you realize how fragile life can be.

    • your reply touched my heart. your words reflect how i feel about my career. thank you

  5. Wonderful post! Although, I’m not a nurse, I’m a 12 hour/3 day per week shift worker as well. As a Respiratory Therapist, I can definitely relate.

  6. Thank you so much for this post. It rings true for many of us. Health care is one of the most physically/mentally demanding professions there is, and hearing statements about “only working 3 days a week” are infuriating.

  7. Thank you for your post. I am a geriatric nurse at a skilled nursing facility/nursing home. We recently went from eight hours a day to 12 hours shifts. My husband and I have long had the argument that all I do is sit and chart. Which is sometimes how I feel but it always seems every time he pops by for a short visit I am sitting, charting. He never comes when I’m out on the floor running my butt off trying to give meds and having someone else want their meds. What is sad to me is when you have a dying patient and the family does not understand how it works. They get upset because you’re taking care of their loved ones roommate or not paying enough attention to their loved one. What they don’t understand is that when their loved one is ready to pass sometimes it’s better that they are not turned or touched because it prolongs their passing. You don’t want to move a patient that is near death but in their eyes we are not doing anything for their loved one. So we get to hear the backlash of that. Or when you have a family member come up while you’re on the cart trying to give meds to 34 patients and their upset that you “ignored” their 106-year-old mother that every day, 2000 times a day complains about her room being too hot or too cold because she won’t leave the A/C alone. Or when you’re on the cart and you have four different people making for different noises because they don’t know any better. Trying to concentrate and give meds correctly is very hard. When you have an alarm going off over here and another one over there and you don’t know which one to get to first, nursing is very hard. I know most nurses know exactly what I’m talking about and are in the same boat. Thank you for all You do Nurses in making a difference in peoples lives. Whether they think we do or not we do and we know it. ❤️

    • I couldn’t imagine working in long term care! It sounds super stressful. Thank you for what you do!

    • I now work ICU but started my career as an LPN and then RN with my ADN in long term care. I hated when people told me that it must be “easy” or “slow” working in a “nursing home”. Hahaha! Only those that have done it would understand the amount of work this job entails!

  8. Thank you for this read! As a L&D nurse, my 3-12’s are NEVER that. I’m lucky if I’m out of work before 13 hrs and not to mention the call shifts we take and are often called in for. My family is great and supportive. I feel guilty leaving often when the unit is busting at the seams or understaffed OR both. I miss holidays, birthdays, special occasions just to care for other people’s families. BUT I knew what I was signing up for when I took the job. It’s the most rewarding job and it’s mine. I see patients at their happiest, saddest, and sometimes darkest moments of their lives. My job allows me to be there for them and be apart of their experience. With that being said, I think that’s why I should only work 3 days a week and NOT have to justify it to anyone. The work I do can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining, that requires a couple days to unwind. By unwind, I Mean try to catch up on household things, Keep my kids knowing im there for them, be involved in work even when I’m not there. Our hospital promotes us to be involved and be the best we can be. Its like the PTA of schools except at work. So yes, I work 3 days a week and am thankful it’s just that…..even if it’s not just 3 days 🙂

    • I am an L&D/postpartum nurse, too. I am also nearing 60 years old. I travel an hour one way to do my 12.5-13 hour shift. I put my whole self into those shifts, often forgoing the very things I worry about my patients not having…proper hydration, adequate elimination, and adequate nutrition. I eat breakfast on the way to work at 5:30 am….and many times do not eat or even drink again until 1:30-2:00pm, if at all. When the floor is busy, I actually feel guilty taking my half-hour break during my shift. I have also been a victim of the “you only work 3 days a week” cut downs too. I actually feel at this age I need to go to two shifts a week, and am getting lots of push back. But, I love my job. It is the toughest thing I can imagine doing, but I wouldn’t be happier doing anything else. It is exhausting though, and 3 shifts a week can be grueling.

  9. I don’t think ANYONE should work 12 hour shifts….but especially health care professionals. After 9 or 10 hours, the. Brain fog sets in and the possibility of errors goes way up! If you are a car mechanic, those error can be fixed. Medical errors? How do we fix over dosing? What level of care is an exhausted nurse giving during that 11th hour?
    Here is another flaw in the 3 day work week… Almost every time my mother was hospitalized, she would bond with a nurse who was very good to her only to find out that that nurse was never there again because her four days off started. I think for continuity purposes, patients should have a familiar face during their visit.

    • Unless you do our job you get no say so

      • Oh, please. Your attitude is why less people have sympathy for you all. I’m a nurse. 43 years. Even back when we were still doing 8 hr shifts, I had a patient who never had the same nurse twice in a week. 21 different nurses. I remember this because there was something about his wound care (he had transferred from a larger hospital) that required his having to give instructions to every nurse who “cared” for him. What a crock. It’s not about the patients–everything is for the nurse convenience. We all know it. You griped until you got 12 hr shifts and now that you have them, you’re still griping, and NO–12 hour shifts ARE NOT safe. Sounds like a lot of ‘It’s about ME” in the nursing attitudes, also.

      • @Lilyredrose, I certainly would love to work where you do where everything is at the nurse’s convenience. I’ve plied my craft in three different states, 5 hospitals, and a SNF and have yet to come across this magical place.

        43 years and you genuinely think that? I call BS. That or you’re management, the kind that either has never done direct patient care or last did it so long ago that you’ve probably had and put a kid through college in that time.

      • You don’t think a patient’s family member should be permitted to point out that continuity of care is a good thing?

        Mind you, I’m not saying that patients or family members should have the power to determine a nurse’s work schedule, but she wasn’t doing that. She was offering a point of view from the other side, that’s all. A lot of nurses (especially those who work full time) prefer the 12 hour shifts, because it makes it somewhat easier for child care and outside appointments and events.

    • Our lives aren’t about you , they are about doing the hardest job on earth , seeing things that would make most people vomit or run, and surviving it. You have no idea what we endure so it’s unfortunate that your mom doesn’t see a familiar face but it’s this kind of ME oriented thinking that burns us out

      • Working in the medical field is very hard. Depending on what position you have also determines how demanding it is however I would have to disagree with it being the hardest job there is, that would be someone in the military in a position that is heavily required when there is a war. However nursing is a very demanding job and nurses aren’t given the recognition they deserve. Thank you for the job that all of you do!

    • Actually, it is better for continuity of care to work 12 hours. Things can get missed when passing on report to the next shift. So it’s better to pass it on twice a day than three times a days. Also taking care of the same patient multiple times in a row can actually be very exhausting. We can get very attached as well and end up grieving when that patient passes. We need those 4 days of recovery for the job we do.

  10. Thanks to all the nurses out there!!! From the aunt and great aunt of 2 nurses!!!

  11. I certainly relate…they add on a 4 hour shift for me so I end up being there a 4th day (say I have to get my 40 hrs in)!! Working nights doesn’t even feel like you have a day off. You either sleep your day off away or try and stay up all day only to pass out shortly after making supper!

  12. Male nurse here. I cried actually when I read this. I’ve been a traveler for the last 5 years. Every topic here I’ve literally touched on in conversation and through tearful text messages I send to my wife during shifts when I’m going on the 13-14th hour on the 3rd shift in a row. I have been bottling up these feelings from my peers in fear that I would be considered weak, and travelers are known to be aggressive, strong, and able. But I no longer feel so alone and I see that it’s OK to feel the way I do. My wife tries so hard to support me but I feel she’ll never fully understand until she spends a day beside me. I often find myself anxious and somewhat sick when heading into work with all the unknowns. But it’s all the thank you’s, God bless you’s, and overall feeling I get when a family member or patients really notices how hard I work to give them the care they deserve. I feel lucky to some degree for the difference I get to make in peoples lives even for such a short time. Much love and a whole lot of respect for all caregivers out there.

  13. I am not a nurse, I am a pca in a small hospital. I work 12 hour shifts straight nights, along side a great group of nurses. It is very hard work I must admit, but oh so rewarding. We work great as a team. I also have certain days off during the week, which I need very badly.

  14. I am a semi-retired RN who can relate to all these postings! My experience is vast and treasured. I have worked ICU, CCU, TCU, ER, Recovery, Med Surg, Tele, Peds, Home Health, Clinics, Schools, etc. I have to say nursing is and always will be my passion. I do mini assessments of people who just walk by me, and can’t resist giving medical advice to my friends and family. Oh, I wouldn’t flag you down if I saw something I thought needed repaired but I might cast you a glance like,” are you okay?” Case in point: while accompanying my mother to her Md appt, we happened to be on an elevator with a man who was adamantly proclaiming to his female counterpart, “I am not getting that defibrillator put in me because they already said it’s not going to repair or heal my heart.” And the sirens and all the code blue call lights went off in my head. I wanted to say, ” No, wait, it will keep you alive, yes, alive!!” It was all I could do to hold myself back but something said, “he’s heard all he needs today.” I left him alone but later thought. Did I do the right thing? Nurses replay moments like these everyday, every minute of their nursing career. I miss the intensity of hospital nursing but I am a realist and know that I don’t have the mental sharpness and the physical strength to do the job well. My colleagues have my utmost respect for the daily sacrifices they make and the extremely difficult tasks they perform every nursing shift.

  15. I understand how difficult it can be. Respiratory Care is difficult also, I love taking care of people, however it can be tough. I sometimes come home and just crash in the bed depending on how busy I was. I am sometimes pulled in 2 -3 directions at one time. I thank God for my co-workers helping me at times like this. I have worked with some great people. I to have been thrown up on, stuck with a dirty needle, trying to help keep someone from pulling their breathing tube out that was overdosed on drugs, I once had 5 in one day. I also understand how you can be tired. Prayers..

  16. So im going to be the mean comment guy. Everyone else here will be very supportive. Not me.

    Sorry sister, suck it up.

    Here’s why

    1) as a nurse, I’m concerned with your lack of empathy. You complain about patients and family who are angry as you don’t answer the call light every 10 minutes.

    I’m sorry, that’s your job. You cannot expect a patient and/or their family to exhibit rational behaviour when they or their loved ones are sick enough to be in the hospital. People freak out. If you fail to see this then maybe you’re not fit to be a nurse, I would avoid your hospital and you like plague.

    Secondly, regardless of where you work – private or public, I have paid you to be there. It’s either my own money (private) or the taxes (public) that puts the food on your table. And bank nurses get about £250 per shift on an average.

    That’s a good amount of money and most people will never make anywhere near that in their lifetime, so yes, I will ring the freaking bell every 10 minutes if I have to.

    And if you’re too busy, it isn’t my fault that the administration is trying to squeeze you into doing the job of 3 for the price of one. It’s your problem, not mine. So yes, I will complain to the admin for your lack of attention.

    2) stop being a cry baby. I have a friend who lost her leg while serving in the army. Never has this girl complained once! Once about how shitty the life in army can be for a female officer and what she must have been going through after losing her leg and being discharged from service.

    Here’s the thing, you signed up for this. You knew people would die. You knew you will be cleaning body fluids.
    And lots more. In essence , you knew what you signed up for. So stop being a freaking well – paid cry baby.

    3) I’m seriously concerned about the hospital and patients with whom you work. You seem to be the kind of weak person who’ll resort to alcohol and drug abuse to combat the ‘tough times’ you face at work. and one fine day, this will trickle over to you being under the influence of a substance at work and/or alcohol and I would be very concerned about letting you near a patient.

    Here’s the thing, nursing isn’t a profession for everyone. We need people who are strong as f**k.

    And this post of yours just demonstrates that. You’re weak and this isn’t for you.
    You need pampering, hugs, hit food for doing your job? Maybe spend a week in military and you’ll probably need to be held for all your life and consolation with a hot beverage.

    Wake up sister, there are countless jobs out there which are way more stressful than yours and are thankless. Let me ask you, do you work for free? Of course not. You get paid for it and that’s the bottom line.

    If you were working for free I would personally drive up to your place and ensure you have warm food when you’re back and will gather a bunch of people who’ll gather around and genuinely thank you for each day of your work. Up for that? No. Because the bottom line is that you are in it for the money.

    It will be Best for you to quit rather than causing harm to a patient due to neglect caused by substance abuse and ending up with a lawsuit.

    Oh and I feel for the guy who’s married to a cry baby you.

    • Well there’s always gonna be that person you can never make happy. You are obviously NOT a nurse sir. Haha.

    • Omg seriously? Obviously he’s never been a patient either. Or have you? I don’t see you out here. If you can do a better job, then by ALL MEANS please show us all how to do ours correctly. And without any fault. And without complaining families and patients. And trust me when I say there are plenty of days the thought of, “I really don’t get paid enough for this. ” goes through a nurses head. BUT WE SUCK IT UP ANYWAYS and do our jobs because that’s what makes us great. You don’t like wiring at Burger King? Get another job. You hate housekeeping because the benefits suck? Get another job. But me? ABSOLUTELY NOT. NURSING IS A PART OF ME. Nurses can’t just quit being nurses. That’s what makes us different. That’s why we can suck it up. But WE ARE ALLOWED TO VENT! It’s a stress reliever so we can come back the next day and do it all over again. And you wounded veteran I can GAURANTEE had her days that she vented to. She stuck to get duty no matter the cost just like we do. And when we vent, it’s usually to each other and then we get over it. So we will see you on the flip side sir eventually and an awesome nurse will hopefully make you feel differently. And even if not, oh well. You see, when you’re a nurse- it’s because you’re CALLED TO BE ONE. And there no cry babies here. Just survivors of one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs that you can’t just walk away from.

      • Well said! I couldn’t respond directly to his, J’s, comment. I have been a nurse for 21 years and the first 4 were in a skilled
        Nursing home or SNF! In case he hasn’t heard, there is a nursing shortage presently. I have worked the past 16 years as a psychiatric nurse. It is extremely important to vent the frustrations because if we couldn’t, I doubt you would like the nurse who answers your call light!! I also cannot answer the call light every 10 minutes because I cannot leave my impulsive patient alone in the bathroom because they are a fall risk and all you really want is ice in the water. Do you deserve ice? Of course, but nurses must triage their patient’s needs throughout the shift, and a patient needing ice is not as important as a patient’s safety. Our motto, whether actually spoken or not, is to do no harm. 12 hour shifts are long and demanding & over weekends we usually work 3 in a row. What I found extremely difficult was adjusting from night shifts one or two weeks’ worth then back to day shifts for the next one or two weeks. I might complain about a lot of things to other nurses who can relate, but once I hit the floor I am professional in demeanor & cares. If this makes me a ‘cry baby’ – well then thank you, I will embrace it only because I know you haven’t a clue!!

      • It’s not my job to show you how to do yours correctly.

        In fact, if you need to be shown how to be good at a job that you have been doing for a while, then you’re not fit for the job. Ever heard of being proactive? No, I presume “drone” is the go-to mode for you.

        If you think you’re not being paid enough for this, you probably aren’t so ask for a raise or move to another hospital that’ll pay you enough.

        Barring athletes (and even then, a small proportion of them) no one is born into a profession. When you started to speak as a kid, were your first words something to the effects of saline, IV, intensive care? No, of course not.

        So your argument that nurses can’t quit being nurses is invalid. The most impressive quality of human beings is the ability to adapt. So unless nurses are an evolutionary exception or from another planet – you can change. And people do it all the time.

        Oh and for my vet friend, she never ranted. I wanted her to, I expected her to. But she didn’t.

        Her response was elegant. She said she signed up for this and while it’s unfortunate, no amount of complaining is going to bring her leg back.

        And that right there is pure gold. If that women were to rant and ask for warm food on the table and cuddles and what not, I would drive 1000s of miles to do it. Every single day.

        Not for a well to-do, working 3 days a week and going to grad school excuse of a nurse who likes to rant – severe case of first world problems. Btw, That’s you OP.

        No, you aren’t called to be a nurse and my mate wasn’t called to join the armed forces. It’s a rational decision taken by adults.

        You say you are a survivor of a rewarding job.

        Notice your choice of words and how paradoxical they are.

        If your job is rewarding then it doesn’t make you a survivor. If you are indeed a survivor then your job isn’t rewarding.

        Anytime you have to vent about your job and that too on the internet, oh well; you shouldn’t need me to tell you what’s wrong there – wrong job.

        Lastly you presume that I do not view nurses in a positive light – nothing’s further from the truth.

        I have been to, let’s say , less fortunate countries.

        The level of care I have received from nurses is overwhelming and humbling.

        My disagreement with OP is her complaining about the job. Here we have a woman in possibly her 20s or 30s moaning about her 36 hour (12h shifts) or 54 hour (18h shifts) per week job.

        People in 9-5 jobs work 40 hours per week and to be fair there are very few 9-5 jobs post recession. bottom line, everyone is working as hard as you, if not harder.

        So no, you’re not working that long or hard to justify a dedicated rant on a publicly accessible blog.

        Secondly, you and I are fortunate enough to have a job in the first place so quit the ranting.

        We did not evolve as a species who came home and complained about how hard it was to hunt the sabertooth, how exhausted I am and how my body feels deprived of electrolytes as we had to chase that damn thing for 50 miles or how I am in trauma because I lost my hunting mate or mommy can you please blow some magic wind into the nasty gash in my forehead that’s due to the my earlier fatal wrestling match with the jaguar.

        We did not evolve by ranting to each other so that we were ready to hunt another day. We lit a fire and danced around it. We celebrated and rejoiced.

        And that’s difference. Difference between winners and losers.

        Winners don’t complain about their jobs and don’t need to rant to feel better and ready for next day.

        If you do, stop lying to yourself – you don’t love the job and you don’t belong to the profession you are in.

        Do I respect the nursing profession, yes.

        Do I respect the cry babies of the profession or any profession for that matter? absolutely not.

        You’re better off vacating the spot for someone who truly deserves it and is capable of managing the baggage it comes with.

      • You totally need your own blog because you are doing enough ranting and complaining.

      • KJ,

        Couldn’t reply to you directly so please refer to the response right below Naders’s. That’s meant for you.

    • To J, that is a cruel and small minded view you have there. Perhaps one that is best kept to yourself. So often I’ve pondered on what is happening to mankind, what’s wrong with the world. Thank you, I read your comments and figured it out.

      • To Angel R

        I can’t sugar coat the truth and if you think that’s cruel, may be you need to get out in the world more.

        Just because I have a different view to what the society conforms to, doesn’t make it wrong.

        I haven’t said anything that’s morally, legally, rationally or verbally inappropriate.

        I have called someone out for being weak and that’s it.

        If being blunt is what makes the world a bad place then yeah, you have figured out what’s wrong with the world. Congratulations.

    • Wow dude! Way to be an ass. You sound like a veteran so I’ll talk to you as one; shut the f**k up you f**king oxygen thief.
      I’m a veteran and a nurse. I know several other vets who are nurses. Not a single one of them would disagree with anything the OP wrote.
      As for your gripes, sounds like someone really is mentally unbalanced. Go ahead and push your call light every ten minutes because you’re a deranged asshole who has no regard for anyone but himself.
      Never mind that by frequently pushing that button, you contribute to the stress on the unit, pull care away from patients who need it more because a body has to check on your candy-ass, or that you mentally and physically exhaust your care team which in turn affects the care others receive. Of course it wouldn’t matter to your selfish, asinine ass. And to have the gall to accuse the OP of… everything you accused her of? Bravo!

      • Lunos

        I noticed within your first 3 sentences you managed to use at least 3 expletives.

        That usually demonstrates that your brain hasn’t evolved enough to articulate complex ideas yet. That’s ok, I’ll break it down in bite size chunks for you.

        So your argument is that a lot of nurses and veterans will agree with op and that should automatically make it right.

        Hmm, interesting.

        A lot of people agree with Donald Trump about building a wall around Mexico and banish Muslims. I suppose that should make it right.

        Similarly a lot of people agreed with Hitler and the mass genocide. So I suppose that should make it justified.

        Look at the above two examples and in time , you’ll see the flaw in your logic. It may hurt your head a bit but it is a complex concept so I feel for you.

        So let’s say I push the button every 10 minutes and put stress on the unit.

        Hmm, interesting again.

        Well, if me ringing the bell every 10 minutes stresses the units then it’s indicative of a poor, inefficient design implemented by a crafty administration whose sole aim is to maximise profits. That is not my problem. I’m not going to pay the price for someone else’s greed.

        Ever heard of Adrenaline? Or cortisol ? Or the many other hormones the human body secretes during stress.

        Let’s say I have been in an accident. It’s a minor one but still lands me in the hospital.

        Well I’m a bad example because I have a good understanding of anatomy. But let’s say I don’t. So yeah I am freaking out. My rational thinking is out of the window due to the adrenaline dump.

        Do you still expect the patient to act rationally and think about the stress on the unit? No.

        I’m sorry but the world out there is survival of the fittest. And that’s basic protocol everywhere. Eg if you’re in a car crash or drowning the very first guideline you’re told to follow is? Make sure you yourself are ok! Run a quick diagnostic. And then proceed to help others.

        Long story short, yes. I have had the gall to accuse the op being weak.

        If she loved her job, this blog post wouldn’t exist. Period.

        You can continue with your name calling as it’s clear your verbal comprehension ability failed to evolve post the age of 14.

      • I shall intubate him for you….no no sedation is not nessecary thank you…however could you please hand me the tube …did you say the doctor felt ac mode might be required to clear the co2 build up ? I must say I completely dearest nurse and partner in SAVING LIVES…not satisfaction surveys. Love you LOTS

    • I’m certainly going to waste my time writing this because I think you already made it pretty clear what kind of person you are….close minded and grandiose to say the least. I’m not a nurse but a social worker and it is pretty evident YOU are the one lacking empathy. I also think it’s laughable you speak like you have it all figured out and you are so smart but you missed the entire point of her post. It wasn’t a post of complaining of what she does but yet a post to bring to light what every nurse does and that it IS a tough job and it is thankless. The way to develop empathy, emotional intelligence and cultural competence (you can look those words up for definitions because you clearly lack all 3) is through communication and enlightenment with one another. Perhaps if we had a better understanding of one another then we would have a better appreciation. An open mind is the most intelligence of minds….and it disgusts me that you speak the way you do….so condescending and appreciative as a man of the military. My husband was a grunt …an Army Ranger….he would be disappointed in your lack of couth….if you are going to play the army card represent yourself with more class and care.

      • To SNLSW

        It’s interesting, you have judged me as close minded and grandiose.

        Let’s address the close minded part first.

        So I have an opinion that does not conform to what you may call ‘standard’ or ‘normal’.

        However if you were open minded then you would have taken my opinion on board and accepted it as a different pov without judgement.

        Building from above, let’s address the grandiose part. Being a person of colour, my old man raised me to not be scared or intimidated and voice my opinion.

        I presume you mistake my confidence for grandiose. This should also address the follow up where you mention I sound like a know it all.

        There isn’t a job on earth that’s easy. Do you really think a garbage picker has a blast? Or even the pesky telephone sales lady who gets shouted and cussed at and hears probably 100 nos to a yes? The hooker looking for someone to love her despite who she is?

        All jobs are tough and thankless – it’s just different degrees of them.

        You speak of EI, CC and empathy and that of an open mind being the most intelligent one.

        Interesting. Let’s use logical reasoning.

        If you truly are open minded and let’s say I am indeed deranged , delusional etc. Then your reply or comment should be non judgemental, and you should have offered to help me, empathised with me and approached me with a view to resolve rather than resorting to labeling me and asking me to refer to the dictionary.

        On the contrary you open your post with an indication that this is a waste of time and label me.

        By doing this, you have essentially contradicted what you are trying to preach about ei and empathy. There wasn’t any cultural insensitivity to begin with.

        I would strongly suggest looking up how humans evolved. It certainly wasn’t by ranting on a blog or moaning about how hard your job is.

        Check out this video:

        The guy in the video is a visually impaired street vendor selling food for $0.045 a piece. A customer gives him $15 which he politely returns, saying there’s others that need it more than me!
        To make the same money, he will have to sell 334 samosas! And yet the guy returns the money. He could keep the money ranting to himself on how bitchy his life is and he deserves the money and he isn’t paid enough to be on the hot, dirty streets of India where there’s no support for the challenged.

        And that’s my gripe. We have people who have it way harder than our imaginations, who don’t moan. And then there’s the OP kinds.

        First world country, I’ve got a cushy life but I’m going to whine about how hard it is. Had she posted only about the emotional challenges of the role, may be I would have empathised.

        No, she brings in logistics, the hours, the 10 minute bells, etc. I mean c’mon.

        As a registered nurse you’d be making an annual average of $66k or if you’re in the UK, about £250-£300 per day as a bank nurse and £28,180 as a perm (NHS). To give you an idea the average ‘household’ income in the states is $51,759 and in the UK is £25,700.

        In layman terms, a nurse earns more than entire ‘households’ on an average. Let me repeat – households.

        And if you’re not getting paid near enough the above, then you’re being underpaid so ask for a raise or move hospitals.

        You are paid handsomely for your troubles so I’m really sorry, you haven’t earned your right to rant or in sugar coated terms ‘openly communicate to garner empathy’

        I’ll reiterate what I said originally, if OP was doing it for free, yes she deserves everything she mentioned from the hugs and cuddles and warm food and support and then some. Because that’s a true selfless act.

        In OPs current state it’s a transaction.

        You don’t moan to your bank when you deposit money and the bank doesn’t moan at you when you withdraw money from a cash point. It’s a transaction.

        You work, you get paid in return.

        May be it’ll take a more open minded person to see my point of view.

    • Oh get over yourself J.

    • J, with all the name calling and yelling you are doing it sounds like to me you should do more venting. We vent so we don’t become the angry person you are for ourselves or our patients!

    • You have posted such judgmental, abrasive, presumptuous commentary here that it is small wonder your friend would never dare to voice any complaints to you. You strike me as a person entirely lacking compassion. Now, you could accuse me of being presumptuous, and that wouldn’t be wrong (being as you are incapable of wrongness). But if you feel it appropriate to cast aspersions on the author of the blog, hinting that she has a substance abuse problem and is unfit as a nurse based on your personal opinion/diagnosis that she is “weak”, I will speak to you in language you understand. (I will, however, refrain from using profanity, because such words seem to be a sign of low intellect when expressed by people who aren’t you. Although I did find it amusing that someone so fixated on “straight-talk” felt the need to disguise the f-word with asterisks.)

      Complaining about one’s job is not a sign if weakness. No matter how much you love what you do, and how good you are at it, there will always be elements of it that are imperfect. As long as the job is being done well and the caregivers are off the clock, I don’t see the harm in venting one’s frustrations. Expecting people to do demanding, draining work without complaint is not reasonable. They aren’t unfeeling machines. (And telling them they shouldn’t complain because someone else has it worse is, besides being an obvious logical fallacy, completely obnoxious.)

      Nurses typically are compassionate. I know it’s not a requirement of the job, but the ones who have inspired me and earned my respect and gratitude have been the ones who have, well, *cared*. While it is possible to be a technically competent nurse even if you don’t care on a personal level, that’s not not the kind of nurse most patients want to have.

      Your repeated harping about choices makes me wonder if you have the same attitude toward your patients as you do to your compatriots. I have no idea what type of nursing you do, but in every area where I’ve worked, I’ve had patients who were suffering because of bad luck (or faulty genetics) and those who were facing the consequences of their choices. But to me, a patient is a person who needs care, regardless of the circumstances. And a colleague who is overwhelmed needs compassion, irrespective of the fact that they chose the job.

      You also seem fixated on the monetary aspect, as though being relatively well-compensated means you forfeit any right to have complaints. There are many professionals who make more than nurses do. But I am quite sure that if you roused a grouchy doctor at 3 am, you would not tell him “you knew what you signed up for, and you’re earning $350,000 a year, so suck it up.” In fact, I highly doubt you are as unpleasant to anyone in your daily life — be they saintly amputee veterans, patients who brought on their maladies by making poor choices, or crabby coworkers — because there you don’t have the luxury of hiding behind a screen and withholding your name.

      Finally, if you want to maintain the idea that humans evolved to be tough, and those who fail to meet that standard irritate you so… Well, you might want to get out of the medical field. The advances we’ve made in technology and medicine have pretty effectively made an end run around natural selection. In fact, you may want to just retire from society, since we now frown on age-old methods of “toughening up” our children such as bullying and child abuse.

      Yes, nurses need to be tough. But if all you need is knowledge, certain skills, and the ability to withstand the physical rigors of the job, why do we need human nurses? Why not just use fleets of robots? I suspect it is because when people are at their sickest, they want a carer who is capable of human kindness.

      I’m sorry you don’t seem to have that functionality. I mean it, because some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had were the result of connecting on a human level with people I came to know and care about by virtue of my work. I couldn’t imagine how empty I’d be if I merely dispensed healthcare because it was my job.

    • J…you seem to be a very lonely, disturbed, narrow minded and argumentative person. Based on your responses given it appears that you are very savvy at utilizing the internet for statistical information. Maybe instead of going to the hospital the next time you are ill you should just ask Dr. Google and nurse Bing to care for you. I’m sure you’ll get better in no time! Hopefully they will tend to your every need without complaint.

      • Susan,

        There was potential in your response. But you lost me at Bing. Bing?

        WebMD at the very least, I mean c’mon.

  17. I think a nursing job is a thankless job for as hard a job that they do. When I am in the hospital I write all my shift nurses names down & when that survey form comes in the mail that is when I can put my good comments on the form. They well deserve it. Nursing is not an easy job & not appreciated enough.

    • To Danaë

      First off, good bit of inoculation on a couple of points, commendable.

      I noticed you demonstrate a rich vocabulary in the initial half of the comment which is very bitty later on. It seems that you’re trying to come across as more articulate than you actually are and that’s A for effort however it isn’t organic and that’s the giveaway.

      Now let’s work backwards on your points.

      You mention you would be empty if you did healthcare only if was a your job. The premise of your argument is 1) I have conveyed that doing your job would mean not to empathise with your patients.
      2) that people who just carry out their jobs are emotionally empty.

      Let’s highlight the flaw in the premise:

      1) i never said, implied or hinted at this
      2) do you really want me to explain this?

      Next, you ‘suspect’ the need of human nurses is justified as when people are sickest, they want a human carer.


      Food for thought : assume someone dear to you is on the hospital bed, very sick. Now you have 2 options. A) a human carer, who’ll hold the hand is compassionate etc.

      B) a medical robot nurse with a 97.5% recovery success rate of caring for sick individuals in the exact same situation as your dear one.

      You could choose option A just to win the argument but the fact of the matter is, you’ll choose B, any given day.

      Regardless, my gripe isn’t with being compassionate to your patients. That’s an incorrect inference you’ve drawn as you’re personally potentially unable to be efficient and compassionate at the same time and believe that they are mutually exclusive parameters.

      Next, about your suggestion for me to retire from society, the various advance in medical society etc.

      Very interesting.

      To date, the most effective method to deal with a bully is not the soft approach to ‘let’s sit down and talk like adults’.

      Standing up to bullying, domestic and child abuse works. People who come forward and are brave enough to address the abuse have been able to influence legislation due to strength, not weakness. The Brock Turner case is a strong example of standing up to the atrocity (by the girl)

      Let’s talk about strength.

      From your name, I’d make an educated guess that you’re either Greek or have some affinity towards the culture.

      I’m sure then, you’re aware of Prometheus, the Titan who stole fire from the gods to give it to humans. He didn’t walk up to Hephaestus and ask for it. He had to fight for it and steal it.

      Recovering from an injury requires exercising after a period of rest. Strength.

      Got an ankle sprain?Strength training + physio

      Tore your ligaments ? Strengthen the surrounding muscles.

      Abusive partner?
      Stand up to them and report to the authorities.

      Suffering from a disease?
      Here’s a shot to strengthen your immunity system.

      Want to manage complex decisions and send people to space?
      Here are some people with a strong intellect.

      So you see, how we are a society and species built on strength? And strength comes in multiple forms – physical, intellectual, financial, etc.

      Would you rather have your kid beaten to a pulp? Or would you rather send him or her to an mma/ jiu jitsu school to make sure they can watch their back? In essence you are toughening them up.

      Oh and remember Adam Lanza and kids in similar stead who shootout entire schools or movie theatres? They aren’t the ones who were ‘toughened up’. They were ones who were mollycoddled , here you go son, here’s my card, mommy loves you , buy a gun from wall mart and off you go on a killing spree. So much for ‘approved’ methods.

      My old man never raised a hand on me, or even his voice. He was always calm but firm.

      When I was bullied at school , he wasn’t like oh my son, it will be fine, just work it out, here let’s go for an ice cream.

      He enrolled me to a boxing class. He enabled me to stand up to and solve my own problems, not whine and cry about them and duck and wish they go away.

      Long story short, strength.

      Regards my Fixation on monetary aspect. Well, we live in a monetised society. You’ll hardly last a day without money. You don’t work without pay, do you? In fact, you won’t work without pay.

      Hospitals make money and so do you. Even charities make money! So if you’re not savvy enough to acknowledge the utmost importance of money and call it a fixation; lord have mercy.

      A doctor’s role is unique as they take the Hippocratic oath so grouchy or not, they are honour bound.

      If I call the doctor at 3 in the night, it’s obviously not to talk about the season finale of breaking bad. It is a medical emergency. And given that I happen to have their number, it is mutually understood that they may be contacted at an inconvenient time.

      Despite the above if the doctor is grouchy then
      1) that’s not a true doctor
      2) I will ask him to suck it up
      3) find another doctor worth his salt
      4) sue grouchy doctor for negligence

      If being blunt and saying the truth supported by facts and stats makes me unpleasant then yes, you’re right.

      However my behaviour is consistent behind the screen as well as in person. Pick a watering hole of your choosing and I will meet you and iterate the exact same opinions, in person.

      I never hinted that the op has substance abuse. I won’t be surprised if she did or given her condition, developed one.

      Oh and one last thing. I am capable of ‘wrongness’. You just need to present a stronger logical argument for me to concede.

      • J sounds like he could use unlimited visits to the psych ward.

        Also, you’re totally not a nurse.

        *expecting more reactivity from him like all the other posts he’s made

  18. I work in long term care! I have for years been asking employers to switch to the 3 12 hr system. Unfortunately it never takes. I am still working 40 hours in 5 days system and yes very burnt out. Here’s to hoping it will take hold soon

  19. Well done, faithful servant. I am a retired RN who felt all the angst & anxiety of every one in the article! I’ve worked every shift; med surg to extreme geriatrics to cardiac to dialysis in a freestanding unit. Each gave me an education that was priceless, while being blessed with the hardest experiences of my life. I feel every nurse deserves the respect & appreciation on par with the veterans of our country. Each & every one is doing their best to keep you alive, safe, & able to live to your potential. So Thank You, job well done!

  20. I have nothing but admiration for all of you. I was a full-time 8 hour with occasional 12 hour shift mostly Mother/Baby/L and D nurse for 35 years and TOTALLY burned out! Have never understood how you all work 12 hours at all! Between charting, meds, teaching, committee work, certifications, oh and patients significant others the job is for superhumans. Oops, forgot the passive agressive doctors in the mix! My days off which should have been sheer recovery were packed with catch-up parenting, catch-up family time, catch-up housecleaning and maintenance. I now work retail for a grocery chain where no one will sue me for killing a lobster and so far I have resisted any opportunity to take on more responsibility than customer service. The unfortunate thing is this…I don’t miss nursing at all, which is a testament to how burned out I became. I am so ambivalent when people approach me for my opinion of nursing because nurses truly are the most amazing, noble, compassionate and hardest working people I have ever met but we drive ourselves into the ground on a daily basis. You are my unsung heroes!

  21. Well “J” it is Entitled people like you that thinks they can act like a complete jerk and get away with it because “they paid for it”. There is no excuse for boorish behavior. And yes I do think that people should act rationally- why? Because we are not animals, we are intelligent beings. When you ask for the 5th blanket while I’m in the middle of providing emergent care to a critical patient or expect me to get you (visitor) coffee because you don’t want to pay for it, you display your selfish entitled behavior. I am paid to give medical care and I do that compassionately and professionally. It is a hospital- not a hotel or restaurant. So how about you suck it up buttercup- put on the scrubs and dive in! Doubt you would last a 4 hour shift, let alone 12!

    • Well Pittsburgh RN

      So if a first world country op rants about her cushy 3 day a week job of her own choosing, she isn’t entitled

      And when I point out that I deserve the care as I paid for her job then I am?


      Unfortunately for you, that’s how the world works. You pay for a product/service and you receive it.

      This is the 21st century. You can’t get away with anything, you have to deserve it.

      Try otherwise and hello lawsuit.

      So here’s the thing. next time you’re filling up gas at the station, we’ll make sure it takes up an hour if time.

      Why? Because you know, fossil fuels are depleting rapidly so that extra time will provide recuperation of the sources.

      What? You say you need it now? Oh my you are some entitled , can you not wait and think of the environment, mother earth is dying!

      You see where I’m going with this? You won’t wait an extra 5 minutes for gas and you expect a patient in a hospital bed to be reasonable?

      Also Pittsburgh, I’m sorry that I’m not using my enhanced ESP abilities to know that you’re providing emergent care to another patient when I need a 5th blanket, how inconsiderate of me!

      Now I am confused Pitts. I know it isn’t a hotel but Health care and nursing is a ‘service based industry’

      Service. Industry. ah so yeah. I paid for you to be there. Be grateful to us who are putting food on your table, quit ranting and do your job.

      Pitts, I love it when you call me names. I’m happy to put on scrubs! Will feel like a walk in the park compared to the deployment.

      Also, J’s done talking to you all so rest assured, no more comments from me.

  22. Twenty years and still love what I do. In spite of quote, 12 hour shifts that are rarely 12 hours. In just the last 2 weeks I have been kicked and punched in the gut, spit on, cursed at because, “I’ve been here 2 hours and only got pain medicine once and 2 antibiotics in my IV and don’t feel any better than when I was in the ER.” Really, he signed out AMA. Long shifts without a break and have learned if you hold your urine long enough you’ll forget you need to pee. Am I complaining no, do I have need to vent once in awhile yes.
    I’ve held many a hand while one is taking there last breath and often when the family didnt care enough to be there. But, they didnt die alone. Also have cried with many family members when losing a loved one. Have bonded with many patients and felt the hurt when they are gone. I’ve also been there with the patients that are at deaths door and our treatment is effective, surgery was a success and they are going home now with a new lease on life. These are a few of the reasons I continue to do what I do.
    To J (the mean comment guy) Whatever, you obviously are not a nurse and have right to your opinion and we have the same right to voice ours. Someday you’ll need the help of a “well paid cry baby” and when that time comes, regardless of your lack of understanding, you will receive the care you need. And PLEASE, I wouldn’t think of working for 250/shift.

    • Allen

      Yeah I’ll get the care I need because I’ll pay for it, not because you’ll want to care for me. Because you’ll get paid for it. More than £250 a day.

  23. I love my job, my three “12” hour shifts, and everything that comes with it. The four days off are great to decompress and spend with my family. To the man who rings his call bell every 10 minutes because he paid for it, I highly doubt you even pay for it via tax dollars or private insurance. I’m Pretty sure my check isn’t signed by you. And attitudes like yours may be partially contributing to nurses having a glass of wine after thier shift and also more and more nurses being diagnosed with ptsd. You see in nursing school they teach us to prioritize and critically think. A walkie talkie such as yourself that wants to ring his call bell every ten minutes and in no real distress will get pushed down to the bottom of my list. My patient with a BP of 198/102 pulse ox of 88 on a 50% Venti mask breathing 40 times a minute and complaining of chest pain will always take priority over your need for fresh ice for the coke you walked to the vending machine for. As soon as I get him stabalized and a free minute I’m calling the doctor to see if we can discharge you and complete your care as outpatient. It’s cheaper that way anyway.

    • Amanda

      You can doubt as much as you want but it won’t change the truth.

      it’s sad to see ungrateful individuals like you who disregard years of money paid via tax and private insurance.

      I suppose they don’t teach logic in nursing school Susan. If I’m in the bed ringing the bell every 10 minutes then I can’t be there unless I’m covered by private or paying for it out of my own pocket.

      Oh and You can call the doctor to try and get me discharged and I’m happy to file a negligence and malpractice lawsuit to get some of that money back that you clearly don’t deserve.

      The only flipside is, since you work 3 days, you’ll have the option to work 2 more to make up for the lawsuit payments.

      • J, you crack me up. Your trolling game is really good. Alas, trolls are quite simply, best ignored. Kudos for fooling me though.

  24. Don’t forget the PCT’s/PCA’s/Nurse Aides or whatever else specific hospitals call them. We bust our asses just as long as any nurse does, and in my opinion we are more one-on-one with those patients than nurses are. We are the ones who answer the call-lights at my hospital. We are required to do hourly rounding and make sure all needs, including bathroom breaks, clean ups, bed changes, vitals, accu checks, drinks, food, socks, clothes, family needs, etc are all taken care of. We are responsible for ambulating patients, for getting the nurse when they need them, for any tiny request. We may not pass meds, have a specific degree, have to do intensive charting, or assess a patient, but we do do the hard physical labor moreso than nurses. I love the nurses I work with and all that they do, and even all that you do. But I find as a Patient Care Tech that I am under appreciated. Everyone says nurse this, nurse that, my nurse is awesome, my nurse was great, or even negative comments. But what about us? I work full time, 12+ hour shifts. With poo and pee up to my elbows, making sure that 300+ lb patients gets UP and walks the 10ft every 2 hours they are supposed to. That that patient gets her accu check before she eats her meal EVEN THOUGH she never tells you when she orders food. It’s our responsibility to be on top of everything our patient is going through and WE are the eyes and ears of our nurses. If not for us, your job would be 10x harder. We help make your job easy, and you use us, but you never acknowledge that we even exist, only to help make it easier for you. For once, I’d like to be recognized as being as great a health care professional as you nurses.

    • You are so right Samantha! You too are way under appreciated and are definitely underpaid! I love and appreciate my nursing assistance and tell them that almost everytime I work with them. Shout out to all you PCTs. You all rock!!

    • Samantha…
      As a nurse who worked as a CNA for many years, I apologize for any RN who does not show you gratitude, and especially those who abuse and “dump” on you. In addition to working ICU (where I do not have help from a nursing assistant, but provide total patient care), I also teach a Certified Nursing Assistant course. Most of my students are aspiring future nurses who plan on becoming RNs. I try to emphasize that a good RN NEVER stops being a CNA. Never. You have a very hard job, that does not receive the pay you deserve. I hate it when a nurse takes the time to find you to take a patient to the restroom, or fill a water mug, when they could have done it themselves in less time. It is not fair to you, nor is it best for their patient. That being said, there are times the RN must rely on you to be there for those things, as they perform tasks that are time sensitive and can only be done by an RN. We must work as a team. I have also found that in general, most patients do not realize the difference in a title, and consider you to be a nurse as well. What I mean by this is, as they are praising how amazing their nurses are, they are including you as well =) Are you under appreciated? Yes. Are you under paid? Absolutely. Do I value you, appreciate what you do, and miss having you by my side? You better believe it, sister!

  25. Love your blog! I have been a nurse for almost 20 yrs and had an injury ended in paraplegia…it’s been 2.5 yrs and I miss nursing so deeply! Thank u for your insight 🙂

  26. I am no nurse at all, but every time I go to hospital, I feel so THANKFUL for EVERYTHING you nurses do. So, Thank you as well! May God bless you. Thank you for your selflessness.

  27. I worked in group homes, hospitals, and nursing facilities, you name it..taking care of human lives, and it is the hardest works a human being can do..and the reason why I am still working 12hrs/3days a week as a nurses aide!!

  28. God has a special place in His heart for nurses!! My daughter is a nurse and I don’t know how she does it. It takes a special person to do what you nurses do and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Love and prayers to you ALL!! ❤️🙏🏻

  29. Perfect description of what it’s like to be a nurse. My favorite line was at the end “Let them (Nurses) rest their bodies and process their emotions on days off.”…It has to be processed…Most people really have no clue. Some day’s are just so sad. On top of the sadness of watching patients die, we watch them cry to go home then become depressed. We watch them refuse medications because they want to die, we beg and plead, we call the doctors and half the time get gripped at by them. Then we have to deal with family’s. Asshole families just looking for someone to have power over because in my opinion they have none anywhere else. Most families are not like that and most when they complain have legitimate reason’s to be upset. I’ve been a nurse for 15 years worked ER/Medsurg, HomeHealth, and now LTC. In LTC we get attached no matter how hard we try not too. Nursing is rewarding but it takes a special breed. I’ve seen many over the years have to leave because they just could not handle the stress.

    Be nice to your nurses.

  30. Wow! I am 47 and have worked in school with special needs kids for 20 years. After watching two of my uncles die, I decided to start nursing school to help patients and families. I was already nervous about starting at the age of 47, now I’m extremely nervous about it. Praying I’m making the right decision.

  31. I am in nursing school and work full time as a CNA. If you have been one prior congrats for the step to an RN, but don’t forget while yes lives are in your hands but they are also in the CNAs! Dont forget we have double sometimes almost triple the patients and without us, your lives would be more difficult. It is rare that I hear a thank you or that anyone stands up for us! Remember we hold the dying and clean them when they have passed. We hold families hands while you are performing CPR. We answer the lights every 10 minutes and lots more. A little story…. I was working one night and had 20 patients because someone went home sick and no one else would come in. I went into a room on my hourly rounding and took a wonderful man to the bathroom. He stated he did not feel well as I helped him back to bed. He was pale and I could see the demeanor had changed because he was laughing the last time I saw him. I went and told the nurse something wasn’t right and I was going to take his vitals. She said fine to let her know what they were (as she sat giggling about her kids with another nurse) I took them and they were not good but within normal range. I informed the nurse and she said its ok that’s normal for him without looking up. I went back to my computer and charted what I had done and observed, including that I had informed the nurse. I went in his room to see how he was doing a half hour later and no response, I knew without listening or further evaluation his heart stopped. I pushed the code blue button and began CPR. When the announcement came on everyone rushed into the room and pushed me out of the way (saying what are you doing) I explained to the charge and at this point it had been a while and the doctor called time of death. I stood there in the doorway in shock at what just happened. Everyone left as fast as they entered and I began cleaning up. I did my post Mortum care as tears ran down my face. (We had been laughing a few hours prior). I set things up for the family and left the room. I cried for many days after and yet kept going back to work. Not one word to me was ever said about it. I’m not saying nurses don’t do what you speak of but we do it too and once in a while it is nice to hear thank you. I don’t ever expect anyone to feel sorry for me or expect thank you because not many people get them. But my question is when you were writing this blog did you once think about your CNA? Just a quick reminder to all nurses, say thank you to your CNA and don’t forget what they do on a daily basis!!

    • Kari, I work in critical care and sometimes don’t even have a CNA to help us. But I agree that you all are heroes, are under appreciated, and way under paid. I always love and appreciate our CNAs when we have them and always thank them. Because I know what it’s like to go without.

  32. Well said it’s hard,but people think that we just sit at the nursing station and just tslk,but no we work hard from the time you get there until the time you leave, and trust me patients and family members don’t even care if you are in the middle of getting a report on there love ones,so you can be updated about their care, they won’t you to come now.

  33. Float Pool here 3 days a week minimum often 4. Love the job but I’m tired. So much energy expended. I feel like I have nothing left some days. All we want to do is a good job, give great care, help our patients, and sometimes the resources are just not there, we have too many patients, or we drew the short straw that day… of course we get blamed for this. People complain about their jobs all the time and I’m sure every job is hard… but Nursing is exceptionally hard on all levels. Thank you for posting, thanks for giving my thoughts a voice.

  34. I am not totally sympathetic to the 12.5 hour shifts….Early on to get weekend coverage hospitals started offering 2 12 hour weekend shifts for more $ per hour and more hours credited. Then nurses themselves thought how great it would be to work only 3 12 hour shifts and have all those days off ! I did indeed start out as a a staff nurse at a very well-known hospital in Boston in the mid 50s… Ihad every other weekend off…I could request a Fri and MOn around that weekend off, and most of the time it was granted…I was promoted to a head nurse position and my $1.00 an hour ( $40/ week was upped to approximately $43.00/week. After a year I received a minimal raise…It was not the dark ages….remember, there were no recovery ( PACUS) rooms, and no intensive care units. All RNs on the unit were competent to care for the immediate post -op patient or the patient admitted with 27 stab wounds or a massive heart attack. I left Boston, worked in several areas of nursing, took years off to raise my family, earned an MS, and returned to work..I was a staff RN, an instructor, a clinical assistant professor..a community health educator, and finally a nurse manager. The RNs begged for 12 hour shifts…”NO, no…the extra 4 hours will be tough…” During my career, I had worked OT, some mandatory, some voluntary, up to 12 and 16 hours. I knew very well that after 8 hours my energy ( and I am a high energy person, even now) and power of concentration was not what it should be after the stress of the 8 hours. RNs pushed for 12 hours, and I would not give in. After I retired, they got their wish for the 12 hours..which would stretch to 16…then they would pick up extra 12 hour shifts….The hospital ended the 12 hour shifts and put the RNs back on 8 hours…why? Over a period of time a significant increase in errors and illness of RNs !!

    Some hospitals have administrators that are not as supportive of nursing staffas they should be, and when RNs ask for more consideration of their situation, and offer improvement suggestions, they are ignored. There are, however, many hospitals whose administrations work OT in a way to offer RNs the support they need. Even with 40/hour weeks , working 8 hours/day, the burn out can be terrific , depending on the specialty.There are many magnet hospitals, and those other hospitals whose RNs are so burned out should study the magnets to learn how they care for the RNs who in turn care for so many other people. Nursing is truly a wonderful profession, a well-trusted one.. offering many opportunities ,I wish that in the near future hospitals will find a way to hire more ( medicare, please take notice, and attend to those reimbursements..for starters..)..
    There are so many other aspects to this…the threat of litigation over our heads if we miss a word in the documentation….non-nurses managing some units, and not understanding nursing…shortage of equipment….inability to get time to attend continuing education….rotten hours and or rotating shifts…and the aboinable practice of moving an RN from the night shift to the evening shift to the day shift in 32 hours…Sweet!!..who ever thought that one up?

    My admiration and best to you all.

  35. Nursing continues all levels of care. Be it given by the nurse,LPN,or SCA. Some nurses come out of school thinking they know it all. They don’t like the being questioned or asked for help. Some sit around and expect the other staff to cover for them or do the change someone who is incontinent of urine or B.M. and couldn’t get to the bathroom. Or a patient, who just had surgery, that has had strong pain medicine. This person rings for the nurse . The nurse is busy with another patient, postoperative, who is having complications and cannot answer your call.The staff who do work in nursing should be commended for coming to work everyday knowing what the day will be like as they care about the patients, the families and each other.

  36. Amen Sister!!! I worked in a Level 1 Trauma Center on the Neurology/Neurosurgery floor and EVERYTHING you wrote I would shake my head as if I was writing it!!! However, on 4/11/01, I was called in and had 11 patients with no tech, and we had NO clerk!! YES, we had to order all of our own labs, answer phones, call lights and take care of our pts.!!! That night I had a patient go into a neuro crisis that needed a stat MRI and believe or not…no transporters available!!! I had to get this poor patient down by myself and as I was getting her ready to go to the table the MRI tech evidently didn’t have the correct lifting methods and I ended up herniating 6 discs!!! Guess what?? Couldn’t leave until I did my charting and let the new nurse know what was going on!!! Good thing the dilaudid hadn’t kicked in too much yet!! I APPRECIATE all nurses and MISS my profession! I wasn’t able to work after but still love the medical field. God bless you!!!!

  37. Hey there nurse friends lots of great input on what I call “my calling”, I knew I wanted to help people since I was 9years old. I actually wanted to be a doctor but it wasn’t in the cards but after almost 19 years of nursing in almost every unit you can think of I knew nursing was a much harder job and much more rewarding. Yeah I’m an LVN but but I’ve done and worked in the hardest areas of nursing possible the emergency room is my favorite next to the Nicu and Critical care areas then to top it off I am a single mom. I’ve worked 6-7 days a week for probably the last 15 years of my travel nurse career to support my kids. I think people don’t realize how hard we work as nurses and as parents especially when there is only one of you. The divorce rate for nurses is so high it’s risen 200% over the past 5 years. Why is that so, well because we work 12-16 hours shifts taking care of people of all ages, siZes, color, ethnicity, religion and we honestly don’t care about any of those things. I worked in south texas for many years near the border next to some of the most educated Latin nurses who I respect and with some amazing administrators who literally get on the floor and start IV’s and transport patients to rooms. But we work short staffed with skeleton crews at night and on holidays because unlike any other job that shuts down for the holidays sick people never sleep. No one comes to our jobs to tell us they are having a great day and just stopped by to say hello. As a nurse we wear many hats we are your housekeepers keeping your rooms clean, your psychiatrist hearing your problems from your ungrateful kids and family to your husband that beats you on the regular hence your admission , waiter cause all we hear is “can u do this?.. Can u bring me that…?” There isn’t many “please” in the vocabulary but we smile and do all these things without complaint because nursing has gone to CUSTOMER SERVICE COMPLIANCE cause that’s how hospitals get paid the customer is always right oh I’m sorry do I work at McDonald’s ? I’ve seen so many changes its unreal and the patients now a days are just looking for a reason to sue the hospitals. The exhaustion mentally, physically, and emotionally we go thru is something most people will never understand unless your a nurse. I just wish that people would just say,”thank you” more often cause that words makes our day! I thanks our military and our police officers for their service to our communities and country but why don’t nurses get thanked for saving your “drunk,pill popping, crack smoking, prostitute daughter” life who is in here every other week! I’m just saying can I have an Amen!! And the entire time she was in my care I did it with a smile and cared for her as I do anyone because the customer is always right! But I wanted to say was put your “rich big girl panties on and suck it up I’m sorry you are spoiled rotten and daddy won’t buy you that new car cause u totaled your last one” cause I don’t feel bad for you I feel bad cause my kids are latch key kids cause child care is too expensive and I can’t make their football game because you coded at the change of shift and now we intubated your ass. And now I had to explain that to my child and they understand because it’s been their life since they were 3. No one will ever know what nurses give up to be there for our patients but can I just get a simple “thank you”?


  38. Try having three halls to yourself. I may not be a nurse only a nurses aide but taking care of that many people by yourself for 12 hours is intense. Especially when I work with some nurses that would rather sit,smoke, okay computer games, or just plain out do nothing instead of helping me out and being a team player:(

    Kudos to those few nurses that are just amazing because those nurses are angels for how hard they work!!!!

  39. I had time stop working the 12+ hours 3x a week due to being very hard on my 55yr old body. I now have a desk job still in nursing. I do miss the interaction with my patients but I would go home in agony and not be able to sleep due to pain.

  40. There is a book called The Shift. 12 hours of a nurses work. Great accurate depiction for anyone interested in a good read and an eye opening one.

  41. Nothing makes me want to punch someone I love in the face (or anyone else for that matter) more, than when they belittle our 3 shifts per week!

    I have worked at jobs in my past where I was on mandatory overtime, requiring me to work SIX 13 hour shifts/week for weeks straight, but they did not come close to the THREE 12 1/2- 15 hour shifts/week that we work as nurses. The emotional and stressful side of nursing follows us home and we are never truly off.

    HCAPs have belittled nurses even more by allowing patients and their families to sometimes be flat out abusive (both physically and verbally), but administration will still kiss their butts to keep those ratings up. When a patient’s family is kind and appreciative for what we do for their loved one (instead of being demanding and focusing on the negative of every aspect around them), it is a breath of fresh air and can sometimes be the thing to keep us going with a smile on our face for that whole shift. Good luck to us all!

    To anyone who may ever have the unfortunate situation of having a loved one in the hospital (or being there yourself), a thank you and kindness toward your nurses goes a long way. The vast majority of us are doing our very best. To those who love us…DON’T EVER BE PART OF THE PROBLEM WHEN WE GET HOME!!! Mentally, we’re not really “off work”.

  42. You know, even though I’m a nurse, I have to say that I do agree with some things J said earlier. Do I have tough days, sure, but no one forced me to choose this profession. I guess I just have a different perspective about how “hard” my job as a nurse is because I grew up with parents who worked far FAR harder jobs than me for $7.00 an hour 7 days a week, all day on their feet. And by all day, I mean literally all day. So I guess I can see where J is coming from, as long as he can also understand that sometimes we just won’t be able to get to him exactly every ten minutes because things do come up. Overall very interesting post with strong points from both sides.

  43. You make it sound so bad and that it is a daily occurence. You did not mention thst there a re CNA’s to assist with cleaning yp bodily fluids, turning patients (300 pounds, really), and answer your call lights. You aldo neglected to speak of code blue teams, housekeeping, lift teams, and all the other resources available to nurses. All jobs are frustrating and if you feel this way about patients, then I pray to God you are not my nurse if need be. Would not want to have you bitch about the paperwork or extra hours when my family just lost a loved one under your care!

    • I just want to share that while this may not be a daily description, it all happens often enough. I work in a 10 bed unit at night with 3-4 nurses and we have no CNAs and no lift teams. Yes, sometimes the patients are 200-300 lbs and not able to help at all. Many are total care/critical patients. The 3-4 nurses are the lift team and each other’s CNAs. Even if all of us are turning that one patient, 9 others may be unattended or the phone will be ringing. Please go easy with your comments. Everyone’s situations are different.

    • We sometimes do not have CNAs, we are required to clean up bodily fluids before housekeeping will come in and sanitize, and I am the code blue team. So not only do I respond to my own patient’s codes, I leave my own patients to respond to other codes.

    • No, there are not CNAs on all floors if any. I’m a nurse in a LTC home and a hospital. We have personal support workers at the Home but NOT at the hospital. We are responsible for cleaning up anything and everything. Our unit just had new lifts installed up to 1000lbs for our bariatric patients. Although we have lifts, they cannot be utilized to turn a patient in the bed. Yes, the bed do have turn assist but rarely does that help with a 650+ patient. And if that patient falls how do you think a lift sheet is places under them? By the nurses, tugging and pushing and pulling the lift sheet under them. You mentioned the code team as well. While yes, code teams are present unit nurses don’t wait around for the code team to respond to the unit. You have minutes if not seconds in a critical event and you cannot wait for the code team to make it all the way up to the 9th floor in some cases. I’ve been SCREAMED at by a woman for not making her a tea fast enough. Well that was because I was assisting another nurse with a patient who’d fallen in the bathroom. I’ve been spit at and on, kicked, punched, bite, I’ve had sexually inappropriate comments made to me, I’ve had patients ‘accidentally’ grab my chest or my ass, and I’ve been called almost every name in the book. Nursing is NOT an easy profession. I wholeheartedly agree many, many, MANY jobs are stressful but until you have had to comfort a new mother who just gave birth to a stillborn baby while at the same time remaining upbeat and chipper for you’re laboring mother in the next room, or you’ve sobbed with a family over an expected passing of a patient, or you’ve realized it’s been 7+ hrs into your shift and you still haven’t taken a bathroom break, or you’ve ran as physically fast as you possibly can to come to the aid of a fellow nurse or another patient being assaulted, or you’ve seen the emotional and physical damage nursing can cause, please, please, PLEASE do not judge or criticize us. Walk in our beat down shoes on a day, day, night, night rotation and tell me how much we’re “bitching”. Leave your family Christmas morning to go and care for someone else in their time of need and just listen to families complain “you’re not doing enough”. End up on workman’s comp at 28 because you’ve screwed up your back so badly you can barely walk anymore then come tell me nursing is easy.

  44. Don’t forget the doctors…easily 12+ hours per day…5-7days per week.

  45. I am a Pediatric psychiatric nurse at a residential treatment facility. I juggle roughly 20-30 assigned patients on each 12hr shift. On days that we are short handed, like yesterday, I can have as many as 50 or more. Med pass can and has been 3hrs straight. I read collaterals that break you heart and make you sick to your stomach. I am responsible for managing safety, treating wounds, providing medication and treatments, promoting dignity, fostering healthy coping mechanisms, and teaching basic hygiene or other types of care among a long list of other duties. It is not unusual to be bit, kicked, punched, urinated on, hair pulled, cursed, threatened, groped or groomed, shoved, or have objects thrown at me and my peers on any given day. I been taken by ambulance to the ER after being knocked unconscious by one of my patients. My field is often not respected and we do not get the pay most nurses in other fields do. I know everyday that I clock in my 12hr shift can easily turn into a 16hr one. I love my patients, my field and all the members of my team. I, however, will not hesitate to declare that sometimes, “only 3days a week” is 3 days too many. Thank you to all my fellow nurses and those who make up our teams. We have chosen a noble and often times challenging profession. Vent on and enjoy your whole 4 days off because we all know too well that “Monday” will come soon enough.

  46. Wow… am I the only one impressed by J’s intelligence in the comments? He is pretty spot on with his rationality/reasoning.

  47. To concerned… I work in an icu… we actually rarely have a cna.. so the RNS do the vast majority of the “clean up” and answer the call lights. As to the code blue team
    . Yep that’s me… or one of my staff members. Lift team?? I’ve never heard of that… is that when I walk around the entire unit pulling nurses from their patients rooms to help turn a 300, 400 pound patient on full spine precautions, or get them out of bed ? Thanks for your input though

  48. Haven’t any of you realized that J just wants to argue and by responding to him you are just fueling his fire…it’s all a big waste of time and energy…

  49. Not read previous posts, I’m a nurse in the UK, qualified 26.5yrs, married to another nurse, qualified 18+yrs…….life is really tough in our world right now

  50. A great read! Well done! Check me out

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